Response from the New Diplomates

by Camille Elaine L. Zabala, MD

The Philippine Board of Ophthalmology
Conferment and Induction Ceremonies of the Diplomates of Ophthalmology
Response from the New Diplomates


To the Officers and Board of Trustees of the Philippine Board of Ophthalmology, Chairmen and RTO’s of the different training institutions, parents, family and friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

First, I’d like to thank the board, for giving me the distinct honor of speaking before you on this special occasion. I never imagined I would stand in front of all you, under these circumstances, tonight. I remember a few times when our chairman, Dr. Rey Santos, would not-so-subtly hint that it is his dream to hear one of his graduates give this speech before he retires as chairman. Then he would proceed to look at each of us meaningfully.  Sir, tonight, I’m happy to fulfill one of your dreams. I hope I do it justice.

While it is my greatest honor to give this speech tonight, I also believe that the rankings were just reported for statistical purposes. That-- and also they just need someone to talk nervously and awkwardly in front of all of you. Kidding aside, the truth is, at the end of the day, all of us are victors.

I will not bore you with the gory details of the hardships and travails we all had to overcome to get where we are now. But let me highlight some of the achievements of this batch that I think are worth mentioning: After spending a good number of years surviving medical school, we all had to fight tooth and nail to get into a residency program. We then dedicated another 3 or 4 years of our lives to the hospital, where we lived and breathed Ophthalmology. I am sure there were missed birthdays and holidays, family events that we couldn’t go to, missed opportunities and other aspects of our lives that had to take a back seat as we trained to be the best ophthalmologists that we could possibly become.  After which, we had to conquer the difficult written board examinations and then proceeded to the very challenging oral examinations. So you see, all of us are survivors, all of us are winners.

But our success would not be possible without the support of important people. On behalf of the batch, please allow me to acknowledge people who have been instrumental in our journey. I’d like to thank our parents and grandparents, who have nurtured and provided for us. To my Dad, you have introduced me to the world of Ophthalmology, you will always be my hero. To my mom, my greatest cheerleader—you believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. Papa, your constant guidance has always inspired me to be a better person. Mama- wherever you are-- you would’ve been the happiest to see me doing this—this is for you. To my brothers and the rest of the family, you have been an unwavering source of support.  I’d also like to thank our mentors, the late Dr. Rodolfo Chuanico and Dr. Gloria Lim, Dr. Santos and Dr. Martinez, all the other chairmen and consultants who devote their time to teach new ophthalmologists. Our success is your success: for you have gifted us the knowledge so that we may excel, the inspiration so that we may dream, the courage to dare and the faith that we can thrive. Thank you to our seniors who have been good examples, friends who were a constant source of encouragement and to batchmates who became brothers and sisters, our allies in this battle. It’s been a good three years with you guys, thank you for all the wonderful memories. I have also been privileged to review with a dynamic group of people for the orals exams— Thank you because I have learned so much from each of you and it felt very nice to be a part of the group where it did not matter where institution you graduated from. To co-residents, nurses, nurse aids and all the people who make our work in the hospital easier—your warmth and friendship has turned our workplace into our home away from home. In the midst of the challenge as we slowly move up in our career paths, whether we do general practice or pursue fellowship disciplines, I encourage everyone to savor the meaningful relations and warm camaraderie that we have built with these important people and draw inspiration from their being with us in the pursuit of our greater dreams. And above all else, thank you to God Almightly for blessing us with so much more than we deserve. I hope that in return, we can be a blessing to others.

Today, we celebrate as we end one chapter of our lives, and start a new beginning. Now, we go out into the “real world” as they call it. As we go out to become advocates of vision in a society that promotes commercialism, may we ourselves never lose sight of who we are and maintain the purity of our intentions. While we forge new paths and build a name for ourselves, let us not forget to be generous, especially to those who need our service the most. Our profession has been so tainted by issues that promoted the exploitation of our countrymen for personal gains. Therefore, in order to reverse the tide of the deteriorating image of our profession, let us all work to resurrect its soul and become the new breed of ophthalmologists that our patients truly deserve, with whom our colleagues can better relate in fair competition with and for which our mentors would be genuinely proud of.

Congratulations to the new diplomates of 2017!

Thank you and good evening.



About The Author

Dr. Camille Elaine L. Zabala is a graduate of East Avenue Medical Center-DOH Eye Center. She is also recent PBO diplomate but considers herself a student forever. During her spare time, she loves to read fictional books until she falls asleep (about 10 minutes later).